Is Rohit’s IPL form slump a worrying sign ahead of T20 World Cup?


At the Wankhede, Rohit Sharma walked up to Rinku Singh and had a chat with the youngster. Rinku’s omission was arguably the biggest talking point from India’s squad announcement for the T20 World Cup and Rohit acted like a leader. He is loved and respected in the Indian dressing room. Not many moons ago, Ravichandran Ashwin had spoken about how Rohit helped him, when he had to leave the team midway through the Rajkot Test against England after his mother fell ill.

“I have played under several captains and leaders, but it is his (Rohit’s) good heart that has made him what he is today,” Ashwin had said on his YouTube channel. “I already had respect for him as a leader. He backs a player without question until the last moment. It’s not an easy thing. Even Dhoni does that. But he takes 10 steps more.”

After India were hammered by England in Adelaide in the last edition of the T20 World Cup, change was in the air. Overhaul became the buzzword and Hardik Pandya was given India’s captaincy in the format. For more than a year, Rohit and Virat Kohli were kept out of the T20I fold. Then, in January this year, the 37-year-old, along with Kohli, was brought back to lead the team in a home series against Afghanistan. The die was cast. It became clear that Rohit would be leading the team in the T20 World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean. Going into a mega event, India needed an undisputed leader, a reason why Rohit was brought back to the fold.

From a batting point of view, does it augur well for India? Rohit as a T20 batsman appears to be on the decline. The hard numbers suggest that. At the 2021 World Cup, he had 174 runs from five matches at a strike-rate of 151.30, as India were knocked out at the group stage. At the 2022 T20 World Cup, he made 116 in six matches at a strike-rate of 106.42, as India lost badly in the semi-final.


His IPL form, too, has headed south over the last few years. In 2020, he scored 332 runs from 12 matches at a strike-rate of 127.69. Next year, his tally was 381 from 13 games at a strike-rate of 127.42. Circa 2022 was even worse – 268 runs from 14 matches, strike-rate 120.18. Last year saw marginal improvement – 332 runs from 16 games and a strike-rate of 132.80.

Last year also saw Rohit change his batting approach, albeit in the 50-over format. He now goes gung-ho from the outset and he has carried his changed approach in this year’s IPL as well. No wonder that his strike-rate has jumped to 152.77. But a tally of 330 runs from 12 matches attests inconsistency. Also, he seems to have hit a lean patch of late, with scores of 6, 8, 4, 11 and 4 in the last five games. Is it a worrying sign for India ahead of the T20 World Cup?

Opinion is divided on the matter. While India’s T20 World Cup-winning coach Lalchand Rajput doesn’t want to read anything into Rohit’s IPL form slump, former opener Aakash Chopra is not so sure.

“To me, it’s not a concern at all. He scored well in the first-half of the IPL. Just because he couldn’t score runs in the last three-four matches, it won’t be appropriate to say he has hit a slump ahead of the T20 World Cup,” Rajput told RevSportz. “Rohit is a big match player and when the (World Cup) matches come, he will perform. And I bet, he will be one of the highest run-scorers at the World Cup.”

Rajput said it would be wrong to judge Rohit by his performances at the last two T20 World Cups. “He is a totally different player now. The way he batted at last year’s (50-over) World Cup… He is taking responsibility and he has led from the front.”

Chopra, though, remains sceptical. “I am first focusing on Rohit Sharma because in the last four games (before the Sunrisers Hyderabad fixture) – Rajasthan, Delhi, Lucknow and the last game here versus KKR – I think his highest score is probably 11. This does not go well,” he said on his YouTube channel. “I want India’s T20 captain to score runs.”

The T20 World Cup would be played at a different intensity and India need their captain to lead by example.